EUR/USD as edged lower in the Wednesday session, as the pair continues to head lower this week. Currently, EUR/USD is trading at 1.0650. In economic news, it’s an unusually quiet schedule, with only three minor events. The US will release Crude Oil Inventories, with the markets expecting another strong surplus. The estimate stands at 2.7 million barrels. On Thursday, unemployment claims is expected to rise to 249 thousand.
Early on in 2017, Mario Draghi & Co. can sleep easier, as Eurozone growth and inflation numbers have been moving higher. Inflation, which has been at low levels for years, has climbed in recent months, buoyed by higher oil prices. This is positive news for the ECB, which has long tried to raise inflation with an ultra-loose monetary policy. Still, inflation levels remain well below the ECB’s target of 2 percent. On Monday, ECB President Mario Draghi poured cold water on hopes of a change in monetary policy due to the improved economic climate. Draghi said that the Eurozone economy was not yet strong enough to withdraw the bank’s stimulus program. Draghi’s comments sent the euro lower, as EUR/USD is down 1.2 percent this week. There are also market jitters over the French presidential elections in April. Marie Le Penn, the far-right candidate in the ring, is not only a strong supporter of Donald Trump, but is hoping to pull off a Trump-style upset win. Le Pen has promised a referendum on taking France out of the European Union, which has put further pressure on the euro.
President Donald Trump continues to create controversies on a daily basis, and his brash and undiplomatic style has not endeared him to the markets. Moreover, the lack of an economic policy from the new administration is a major source of concern and the the post-election euphoria which sent the markets higher has dissipated. The Federal Reserve, which had trumpeted that it was planning a series of hikes in 2017, was more cautious in its recent rate statement and is expected to adopt a wait-and-see attitude in the coming months. If the economy continues to grow, there is a strong likelihood of another rate hike in the first half of 2017, which is bullish for the dollar. On the other hand, if Trump makes good on his promises to “make America first” and implement protectionist policies, the greenback could lose ground.